While we normally don’t encourage music blaring during our camping trips, the same sentiment does not apply here. We have compiled a list of the best music festivals around the nation where you can let loose, listen to your favorite tunes, and top off the night with a “cultural” camping experience. There is not yet a state-by-state resource for music + camping festivals, so we decided to give it a go as much for our benefit as the benefit of our readers. We included some of our favorites, but we know we could've missed a few so if you have a suggestion leave us a comment!
And without further ado here are our favorite camping music festivals found nationwide.
Wakarusa (Mix- Defunct 2015)
Sadly we do not see another round in 2016, but this festival situated in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas was going twelve years strong with 2015 holding over 200 sets of music crossing all different genres. The good news: #waka2017 doesn’t look off the table.
Lightning in a Bottle (Folk, EDM)
Held in late May 2016 this year Lighting in a Bottle is one of the top music camping festivals in the nation. Lightning in a bottle takes the whole festival retreat concept a step further offering an experience for all the senses by offering yoga, art, spirituality and more. LIB strives to promote more than just music, and the festival encourages all ages to participate- families welcome.
Coachella (Mix Contemporary)
If you’re on social media there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Coachella or seen your favorite celebrity visiting. Just a few hours of east of LA, Coachella has a line-up of some of the biggest names in music today. Held in late April 2016, you can already find tickets on sale for next year.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival (Bluegrass)
Situated in the mountains of Colorado, this bluegrass festival is held in June 2016. However, tagging the festival as bluegrass alone is misleading as the acts feature music from a variety of related genres. Going on 43 years of tunes in this mountain town, you can count us in.
Firefly Music Festival (Mix Contemporary)
Just about an hour from FNO HQ you can find Firefly Music Festival. It features some of the top acts in music today and has an extensive camp scene to boot. Music, food trucks, bars, a general store, and more- Only good things going on an hour east of our locale.
TomorrowWorld (EDM- Defunct 2015)
Often listed as the top EDM music festival in the nation, TomorrowWorld in the hills southwest of Atlanta will not be returning for 2016. Unfortunately weather and transportation are credited to the cancellation of the festival’s 4th year, but there is always hope for the return of one of most acclaimed festivals in the United States.
Imagine Music Festival (EDM)
It is possible Imagine Music Festival could take up where TomorrowWorld left off for the EDM lovers around the southeastern US. Going on its third annual festival held in August and being described as an “aquatic fairytale”, Imagine features top performers in EDM and camping accommodations for the masses.
Summer Camp 2016 (Jam Band, Electronic)
This festival started in 2001 with 1000 attendees enjoying a weekend of 15 acts. Fast-forward to 2016 and you have a three day event, 100 bands, and over 20K in attendance. Often found in top 10 lists for the best festival music+camping combos, Summer Camp triples the population of Chillicothe, Illinois for the weekend. Start making plans for SC17.
Spearheaded by Del McCoury, the legendary American bluegrass musician, Del Fest is found in the Cumberland Mountains of Maryland. Del Fest finished up its 8th year in 2016, and held three days of family-friendly entertainment. Nestled in the mountains of Appalachia, camping is not far off and can be had on or even off grounds in nearby parks.
Electric Forest (Electronic)
One of the largest and most renowned electronic festivals in the nation is found in the woods north of Grand Rapids. Electric Forest offers camping accommodations for the masses including car camping, RV, and even lodges. Combine those options with the line-up and you understand why it tops our list.
WE Fest (Country)
We had heard of WE Fest well before we started to look into its camping set-up. WE Fest is one heck of a country party scene and it is self-acclaimed as “Minnesota’s Biggest Party”. Held in the dead middle of summer in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, WE Fest is quite possibly the largest country party in the nation, and it provides expansive camping to boot.
The Hudson Music Project (Defunct- Contemporary Mix)
Unfortunately not too much more to say about the Hudson Music Project. The festival provided some of the top acts of the time (2014), crossing genres for one cool experience. Albeit defunct, there are few rumblings of HMP’s return in the future.
Mysteryland USA (EDM)
Mysteryland USA made its debut in the US in 2014, but it’s touted as the world’s longest running electronic music, culture, and arts festival. Going on its third year in the US at the legendary Woodstock Festival grounds, Mysteryland USA is one of the largest festivals in the country and available for those 19+. An array of camping options are available, but Mysterland also offers “easy tents”- 2 person tent, air mattress, and sleeping bags waiting for you to hit the hay.
Taste of Country Festival (Country)
Located in Hunter, NY you can find the only multi-day country festival in the Northeast. Nestled in the Catskills, Taste of Country Festival hosts some of the biggest names in country music for a few days of the year. You can car camp, RV camp, and of course tent camp on site during the slow hours. With a stage situated at the base of a ski mountain, this offers one of the coolest settings in the northeast.
Rocklahoma 2016- (Heavy Metal, Rock)
The only heavy metal/hard rock festival on our list is Rocklahoma which is a three day event with four different stages featuring heavy metal, rock, and alternative tunes. Four different campsites line the festival site with 20x40’ sites marked off making car camping easy for the rock crowd.
Camp Bisco (Electronic)
Find yourself in the Northeast in July and you’ll have to make the trek to Montage Mountain outside of Scranton, PA. Camp Bisco is going on its 14th year of the three day festival featuring some of the biggest names in electronic music. Camp Bisco differs from other festivals because there is no carside camping option, so they suggest you pack light and make a weekend of it!
The Peach Music Festival (Blues Rock, Country Rock)
Find yourself in the Northeast in August and you’ll have to make the trek to Montage Mountain outside of Scranton, PA. Okay, sounds familiar but The Peach Music Festival holds its own. The Peach Music Festival features rock sets over three days in August. Additionally they offer both on and off-site camping and RV passes. Go hit up the 5th year of the festival- not a bad way to end the summer!
Bonnaroo (Contemporary Mix)
At the time we compiled this list we found the recent headline “277 cited, 37 arrested at Bonnaroo Festival drug busts”. Don’t let that discourage/encourage you. Although this headline doesn't conjure the family friendly image seen in the other states, Bonnaroo is a huge 4-day festival featuring all genres from the top artists of the time. First established in 2002, Bonnaroo also provides car camping passes, turn-key camping options, and believe it or not, family campsites as well.
Bonanza Campout (Indie and Electronic)
One of the newest festivals on the list, Bonanza is held in early June in the mountains near Park City, Utah. It’s a “compound” perfect for music, breweries, eateries, and important for this list: unique camping. Camping options surround the festival grounds ,and camping, as well as the festival, is open to participants of all ages.
Floydfest is held just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, VA. It is one of the longer festivals on this list as it is held over five days and features music from various genres: rock, bluegrass, reggae, folk, etc. This year’s theme? Dreamweavin’- and this year it’s putting off all the right vibes for that. Floydfest features camping and glamping, as well as RV’s and even yurts. If you’re out in the Blue Ridge Mountains this is worth the stop in late July.
Paradiso Festival (EDM)
Paradiso is a weekend festival held in George, Washington which is about three hours from Seattle and three hours from Spokane. Upon its launch in 2012 it was called “the largest EDM festival ever staged in the Pacific Northwest”. Couple that claim with its venue, the Gorge Amphitheatre situated above the Columbia River Gorge, and you have one of the largest and coolest festivals in the nation. Camping ranges from car camping to RV camping to terrace camping above the gorge.
Sasquatch (Contemporary Mix)
Sasquatch is held just a bit earlier in the season, but at the same locale as above: The Columbia River Gorge. It differs in its wide array of music acts which span contemporary artists and genres. Depending on your interest, Sasquatch offers the same camping options as above, as well as the glamping experience for those less-inclined to take in nature. But we can’t encourage that- go all in and take in the music and the fresh air!
Timber Outdoor Music Festival (Blues Rock, Country Rock)
Timber holds a festival in the winter as well, but let’s give the summer festival a gander here: Timber is held in mid-July in Carnation, Washington which is just outside of Seattle, WA. Not only does Timber offer on-site camping options, but they also help encourage activities outside the festival including hiking and even tubing on the nearby river. One of the better music/outdoor balances on the list!
Summer Set Music Festival (Contemporary Mix)
Last but not least we have Summer Set Music Festival (SSMF). Going on its 5th year, SSMF is held in northern WI in August and SSMF features a blend of the top artists spanning the genres. These three days in August frequently top lists of the best summer festivals, and we understand why just by looking at the line-up and location. RV and car camping are both permitted making it easy for all to enjoy.
Do you have a favorite we missed? Drop us a comment and we'll be sure to give it a look.